Bulls don’t shoot or star on Saturday


Feb 19

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The Bulls feel like they have skills and can be shooting stars.

But not Saturday night during All-Star weekend.

“It would really hurt if I got all the way to the end and lost,” said Derrick Rose, who finished third in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, one of four contests during the All-Star Saturday night Stupid Human Tricks. “Since I got out in the first round it’s not too bad.”

Rose, who won the 2009 contest among point guards but had to withdraw last year due to injury, admitted he was a bit cautious being uncertain about the passing, shooting and dribbling obstacle course. As a result, he slowed some and failed to qualify for the final round. Golden State’s Stephen Curry won over the Thunder’s Russell Westbrook. Chris Paul and John Wall finished behind Rose.

In the other contest featuring a Bulls and Chicago players before the three-point and dunk contests, a team of Taj Gibson, Steve Kerr and Chicago Sky player Cathrine Kraayveld finished last in the four-team competition.

The team from Atlanta featuring Steve Smith, Al Horford and Coco Miller won. I checked. Her nickname isn’t T-Bone.

“The half court shot killed us,” said Gibson, who admitted he’d been shooting them at the end of practice every day for the last month to get ready.

The contest involves hitting a variety of mid range and three point shots until having to make a half court shot to finish. It took some 40 seconds of consecutive shooting for the Chicago team to finally drop one as Kerr eventually did.

“The experience was nerve wracking,” admitted Gibson. “The crowd was on your heels. My heart was beating 100 miles an hour. But it was all fun.”

Kerr, the former Bull who broadcasts for TNT, though took it harder.

“I think I’m going to take this moment to withdraw from the stars competition,” Kerr said. “I always knew when the motivation wasn’t there any more it would be time to move on. I couldn’t get up for the event. You know when you are the competitor. It’s time to let some of the younger legends have their time in the sun.”

He may have been being sarcastic, but time will tell.

“The biggest thing for all of us is we just had one motto: ‘If Kenny (Smith) loses, we all win.’ So everyone walked away happy.”

Apparently former Rockets player and now TNT analyst Smith was trash talking about the contest before the game, suggesting his life still is a bit empty.

“It’s fun to beat Kenny Smith so we don’t have to hear his mouth,” said Smith, the former Atlanta Hawk. “He was doing a lot of talk in the locker room and questioning if I should be in the contest.”

Smith’s Texas team with Dirk Nowitzki made the finals, but never finished as no one could make the half court shot.

“I was a little rusty,” admitted Rose. “The best man won. He did everything right. You’ve really got to focus or you’re going to be stuck on one spot. It’s usually that bounce pass that gets people. Hopefully if they take that out one year I’ll win again.”

Rose said he knows he’ll hear it back with his team. “Thibs will probably crack a few jokes,” said Rose, “and then go back to being serious.”

Rose hadn’t practiced for the contest, but Gibson being back where he went to college at USC was pressing a bit.

“After practice I always shoot a bunch of half court shots,” he said. “For some reason I could not hit one today. They just didn’t want to go down. I really worked on it after practice for the last month. Oh man, downer.”

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